Lilium has become the latest eVTOL aircraft developer to go public, after announcing a SPAC merger with Qell Acquisition Corp which is led by Barry Engle, the former president of General Motors North America.

The transaction values the combined company at approximately $3.3 billion pro forma equity value at a $10 per share PIPE price. The total gross proceeds are expected to be about $830 million, including approximately $380 million in cash currently held in trust and the proceeds of a $450 million PIPE1 investment.

Additionally, this also includes investments by Baillie Gifford, funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, Tencent, Ferrovial, LGT and its direct impact investing arm Lightrock, Palantir, Atomico, FII Institute and private funds affiliated with PIMCO.

The proceeds from the transaction will help fund the launch of commercial operations which are planned for 2024. This includes the finalisation of serial production facilities in Germany, launch of serial production aircraft and completion of type certification.

As part of the SPAC merger, Engle will join Lilium’s Board of Directors – which also includes former Airbus CEO Tom Enders.

Enders said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Lilium to together build the leader in regional electric air mobility. Qell set out to find an exceptional and ambitious technology company, with significant growth potential — and in Lilium we have found that. Lilium has unique technology and one of the most accomplished engineering and commercial teams in electric aviation.

“The experienced Qell leadership team is looking forward to working with Lilium. Our board has a collective set of experiences in growing businesses, strengthening operations, expanding globally, raising capital and creating long-term value.

“I have spent my career in mobility and been part of the electrification of the automotive industry. The market and societal potential from the electrification of air travel is enormous. I, and the whole team at Qell, are excited for the impact Lilium can have and the part we can play.”

As well as announcing its intention to go public, Lilium has also revealed its new seven-seater Lilium Jet. It has projected cruise speed of 175mph at 10,000ft and a range of more than 155 miles plus reserves.

The aircraft is the culmination of five years of technology development across four generations of demonstrators, including its full-scale five-seater eVTOL aircraft. Lilium applied for concurrent type certification for a high-capacity aircraft with EASA and the FAA in 2018. In 2020, the 7-Seater Lilium Jet received CRI-A01 certification basis from EASA.

Lilium has successfully developed, tested and refined the underlying technology for electric vertical take-off and landing jets – its proprietary Ducted Electric Vectored Thrust (“DEVT”) technology, along with key control systems, aircraft and battery architecture. DEVT technology enables Lilium to scale to higher-capacity aircraft and keep noise emissions and ground footprint low.

Daniel Wiegand, Co-Founder and CEO, Lilium, said: “We’re incredibly excited to reveal the development of our seven-seater Lilium Jet and announce the next stage of our growth. This is a validation of all the hard work over the last five years from our talented team and our world-class partners and investors.

“Our vision is to create a sustainable and accessible mode of high-speed travel and bring this to every community. Transport infrastructure is broken. It is costly in personal time, space consumption and carbon emissions. We are pursuing our unique electric jet technology because it is the key to higher-capacity aircraft, with lower cost per seat mile while delivering low noise and low emissions.

“Today’s announcement brings us closer to launching our passenger service. In Qell, we have found a partner who shares our ambition for sustainable mobility and brings tremendous experience in running mobility and hardware businesses.”

The seven-seater Lilium Jet will be Lilium’s first aircraft to go into serial production. In a press release, the company says its aircraft will have 30x fewer components than a commercial airliner and is designed for ease of manufacturability and scalability.

It is partnering with world-class suppliers which includes Toray Industries, providing the carbon composites for the aircraft’s primary structures; Aciturri, manufacturing the fuselage and wing systems; and Lufthansa Aviation Training, training Lilium’s pilots.

To date, Lilium has secured approximately $200 million of commitments from infrastructure partners, including Ferrovial and Tavistock Development Company.

Up to 14 vertiports are already planned in Florida. Lilium is also in advanced discussions with key infrastructure partners for 10 vertiports to build a network across Europe.